The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently conducted a study on driver use of lane departure systems in the Washington D.C. area. What they found was surprising. After checking all cars brought in for service at 14 D.C. area auto dealerships, the study team found that lane departure systems were turned on in only 51 percent of the cars, suggesting that drivers are not yet sold on their usefulness in preventing car accidents.
How Lane Departure Systems Work
There are a few different types of lane departure warning systems, all designed to perform the same function – alert the driver when they begin to drift out of their lane. Every lane departure system uses a small camera mounted on the windshield. The camera captures images of straight or dashed lines and interprets them as lane markings. Lane departure systems alert the driver if the camera detects the vehicle is too close to a lane marking.
The most common lane departure warning systems emit a beeping sound warning the driver to return to their lane. More advanced systems automatically steer the vehicle away from the other lane while the driver re-centers the car. The most sophisticated lane departure systems actually center the car in the lane as long as the driver’s hands are on the wheel. Lane departure systems deliver audio, visual, or vibrating warning alerts, depending upon the make and model of the vehicle.
Possible Concerns with Lane Departure Systems
Because lane departure systems all depend upon the images provided by the windshield-mounted camera, they may not work as well in rainy, snowy, or foggy conditions. They also do not work on un-marked roads, roads that are painted with dots instead of lines, or roads where the markings have faded or are covered by dirt or snow. As the IIHS study shows, a large portion of drivers do not feel the benefits of lane departure warning systems outweigh the annoyance they present. Drivers have complained of false-warnings or alerts when they are safely departing their lane.
What This Means for Driver Safety
Similar to the Washington D.C. study findings, the IIHS found that drivers in Maryland and Virginia do not seem to feel the alerts are worth the nuisance of an imperfect or malfunctioning technology. There is currently not much data about whether lane departure warnings reduce crashes, while the statistics on other types of safety technology are more promising. Crash-prevention or automatic braking systems have proven very effective in reducing serious car accidents, including those involving pedestrians, and drivers seem to trust them. The D.C. study participants left automatic braking and crash alert systems on 90 percent of the time, and blind-spot monitoring systems on 99 percent of the time. Until more information is available about the efficacy of lane departure warning systems, drivers can count on these proven systems to help keep them and their passengers’ safe on the road.
Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Advocate for Car Accident Victims
There is no safety technology available to prevent every car accident. The Delaware car accident lawyers at the law offices of McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC fight for those seriously injured in car accidents. Call us today at 302-888-1221 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with one of our dedicated and experienced Delaware injury lawyers. In addition to our Wilmington, Delaware office, we also have locations in Haddonfield, New Jersey, and Abington, Media, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to serve you.